Police arrest Woodland principal on assault charges

WOODLAND, Wash. – Police have arrested the Woodland Elementary School principal on allegations he used too much force to help restrain a mentally challenged third grader.

Mark Houk was arrested on suspicion of three counts of fourth-degree assault and booked in the Cowlitz County Jail. Bail was set for $1,500.

The incident happened Feb. 26. Woodland School District Superintendent Michael Green reported the allegations to them on March 7. Green told police school staff told him that Houk had physically abused the child several times while at school.

Police have said this may have happened in what some reports called a “behavior room,” or a room where special needs students are sometimes taken for seclusion and to cool down.

Woodland police said Thursday in a news release “it took longer than anticipated to conduct the investigation due to the complexity and number of interviews needed to collect all the facts and evidence.”

The news release said the Woodland School District cooperated fully with the investigation.

Prior to his arrest, Houk was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.

No further details about the allegations were released.